Smart Cities

Smart Buildings & Cities Demand an Electric Power Revolution!

The adoption of smart buildings and cities continues to grow around the world to increase energy efficiency and human-centric benefits while reducing our negative impact on the environment. However, as smart technology continues to proliferate it has become clear that our current electrical system was not designed for this modern world. From IoT devices to heating and cooling, to lighting and electric vehicle charging, our built environment now demands new forms of energy provision that centre around the electrification of everything. The future of our rapidly evolving smart environments will now depend on the slow-moving energy industry to change quickly. “The energy transition will seem slow to a company like Google, but it will be fast for energy companies, who have to request permission from a commission to deploy infrastructure on behalf of ratepayers. There’s a process that’s very, very important to ensure reliability, affordability, and sustainability,” said Duncan Rotherham, vice president of beneficial electrification at […]

Stay ahead of the pack

with the latest independent smart building research and thought leadership.

Have an account? Login

Subscribe Now for just $200 per year per user (just $17 USD per month) for Access to Quality Independent Smart Building Research & Analysis!

What Exactly Do you Get?

  • Access to Website Articles and Notes. Unlimited Access to the Library of over 1,700 Articles Spanning 10 Years.
  • 10% discount on ALL Memoori Research reports for Subscribers! So if you only buy ONE report you will get your subscription fee back!
  • Industry-leading Analysis Every Week, Direct to your Inbox.
  • AND Cancel at any time
Subscribe Now

The adoption of smart buildings and cities continues to grow around the world to increase energy efficiency and human-centric benefits while reducing our negative impact on the environment. However, as smart technology continues to proliferate it has become clear that our current electrical system was not designed for this modern world. From IoT devices to heating and cooling, to lighting and electric vehicle charging, our built environment now demands new forms of energy provision that centre around the electrification of everything. The future of our rapidly evolving smart environments will now depend on the slow-moving energy industry to change quickly.

“The energy transition will seem slow to a company like Google, but it will be fast for energy companies, who have to request permission from a commission to deploy infrastructure on behalf of ratepayers. There’s a process that’s very, very important to ensure reliability, affordability, and sustainability,” said Duncan Rotherham, vice president of beneficial electrification at global advisory firm ICF. “There’s probably a little bit too much ambition on velocity, from my perspective, on how quickly this whole thing will change, but it will change. Every day we take longer, it costs us time.”

In the simplest sense, electrification means we can power everything in buildings and cities by renewable energy, but it is not as simple as plugging in solar panels at one end of the grid and electric-powered devices at the other.  Renewable energy is intermittent, fluctuating its supply based on the strength of the wind and solar radiation, and will therefore require energy storage systems in buildings to balance loads. The introduction of electric vehicles (EV) and their charging infrastructure now demands neighbourhood-level storage infrastructure that can support the use of intermittent renewables on a larger scale. And, our smart environments will even demand changes in the way electricity is transported.

Most modern devices use direct current (DC) electricity, including LED lights, HVAC systems, computers, microwave ovens, and much more. Today, DC consumption currently makes up approximately 32% of total energy loads but could rise to as much as 74% in buildings that use electric vehicles and HVAC equipment with DC motors, according to the US Green Buildings Council. However, our existing power grids distribute alternating current (AC) electricity to our buildings and cities, meaning the growing number of DC-powered devices must convert the AC power they get into the DC power they need, which leads to inefficiency and wasted energy.

“Most modern devices and systems require DC electricity, and this is no different for smart buildings or homes. But if high consumption devices, like LED lighting and HVAC, still have to convert AC to DC electricity, energy is still being wasted,” says Erin Kelly, Creative Director at Argentum Electronics. “As it becomes more beneficial than ever for buildings to reduce their energy consumption, it's time to reconsider whether AC electricity should remain the standard type of electricity transmitted throughout the world (or at least in buildings).”

AC electricity is the chosen standard in the world today because Nikola Tesla won the War of the Currents back in the late 19th century. Tesla's AC power distribution method was chosen as it is more compatible with transformers, allowing cheaper transmission of electricity over long distances. However, that decision was taken over 100 years ago, since then technological advancements like rectifier stations and mercury arc values now enable DC to compete with or complement AC for cost of long-distance transmission, while reducing energy waste at the device level. “We need a revolution in just basic electricity before a lot of our smart building technologies will actually be implemented” stated Brad Koerner at the Smart Building Conference in 2020.

“Put simply, an energy transition represents a profound change in the energy system, but the world has made the transition from one dominant form of energy to another several times. The replacement of fossil fuels with renewables marks the next historic shift. Yet, to ensure sustainability and global climate stability, this latest energy transformation needs to happen much faster,” reads a statement by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). “Countries around the world need a vast expansion of renewables, smarter and more flexible electricity grids, and huge increases in the numbers of vehicles and other products and processes that run on electricity.”

Most Popular Articles

Schneider Electric Smart Buildings 2023
Smart Buildings

Schneider Electric Smart Buildings Business & Financials 2023 Examined

In this Research Note, we examine the Smart Buildings business of Schneider Electric, based on their 2023 Full Year Results, presentations, Q3 and Q4 earnings calls. Significant partnerships, acquisitions and divestments in the smart buildings space are also highlighted throughout 2023. Schneider Electric Energy Management Division The Buildings end market of Schneider Electric is addressed […]

ABB Smart Buildings 2023
Smart Buildings

ABB Smart Buildings Business 2023 Examined

In this Research Note, we examine the Smart Buildings business of ABB, based on their February 2024 Factsheet and building automation portfolio, acquisitions, divestments and investments throughout 2023. This article updates our 2022 Examined article published in March 2023 and the Capital Markets Day update for Smart Buildings in December 2023. The Smart Buildings division, […]

UK Green Building Council Progress Report
Energy

“Our Industry is Not Moving Fast Enough” – UK Green Building Council

The United Kingdom (UK) is falling behind in its projected green building roadmap according to the UK’s Green Building Council’s (UKGBC) progress report. The initial 2021 roadmap demanded a 19% drop in emissions over the past four years but the latest data shows just a 13% fall, more than 30% short of the target reduction. […]

Subscribe to the Newsletter & get all our Articles & Research Delivered Straight to your Inbox.

Please enter a valid email

Please enter your name

Please enter company name

By signing up you agree to our privacy policy